Marthinus Theunis Steyn Stofberg was born at Villiers on 6 June 1955 and was the youngest son of a Dutch Reformed Church minister. A transfer to Durban meant Theuns attended Dirkie Uys school before a move to Bloemfontein saw his education continue at Grey College.
His enrolment at university followed and Free State coach, Nelie Smith, feeling he would be better utilised as a flank instead of a lock, followed his instincts to good effect. At the tender age of 21, Theuns made his debut against the formidable All Blacks in the second Test in Bloemfontein in 1976 and, after that, never looked back.
New Zealand won that Test but the Boks took the series, having won in Durban in the first international and then in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, in the third and fourth encounters.
Although his career had taken off while playing for Free State, military service beckoned for Theuns and it was Northern Transvaal who were to benefit – as had happened on so many occasions when call-ups of prominent players were to the distinct advantage of the Blue Bulls in those days.
But another part of the world was to also profit from having the big man in its midst. Theuns went to Italy for a stint with Padua, where his commanding presence made a profound impression.
On his return Theuns was to face an uncharacteristically busy 1980 international season. He was to team up with Western Province stalwarts Morné du Plessis and Rob Louw as part of a hugely capable Springbok loose forward trio. The Boks that year played a total of four Tests against South America and won them all and outplayed the visiting British Lions 3-1. There was also a one-off Test against France at Loftus Versfeld which went the way of the home team.